New App Uses Machine Learning to Interpret Babies' Cries

A UCLA research team, led by Ariana Anderson, an assistant professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine, has created Chatterbaby, an app that uses artifical intellegence to tell parents that their infant is crying -- and why the baby is upset.

Available for free on iPhone and Android devices and at Chatterbaby.org, the app allows parents to record and upload their babies' cries, which are then analyzed using artificial intelligence.  Anderson's research was supported by a voucher from CTSI to use the facilities of the Computing Technologies Research Lab.

Scientists believe that a new crying-pattern study launched through the app will provide insight into whether certain patterns can later be associated with specific development disorders, such as autism. Scientists believe the app also may help parents with hearing loss or who are deaf, as well as new parents who may not yet understand what their baby is trying to communicate. In addition, the app may help some women with postpartum depression because research shows they may have more difficulty than woman without depression discerning the meaning of their babies' cries.